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hearingisbelieving

If you cant measure it you cant hear it...

304 posts in this topic

There is lots of things that can be measured but I would suggest that some of the above would not be able to be empirically measured. it is now established that no two sets of ears including both the inner and outer shapes are the same . So each individual will hear or probably in their brain measure the sound differently. Even more complicated is that no two paths in a brain that take the signal to create the sound you hear are the same the paths are decided when you are young and will change the side and pathway according to how you brain was formed and then split.

Given all of the above then it is no wonder that some people can hear a sound stage clearly and it adds greatly to their appreciation of music others (Linn / Naim owners anyone ?) do not hear any sound stage at all and so for them it is not important.

So if all of this is so dependant on the individual then all you could really measure and establish is how well one system performed with a single individual there would be no gurantee that anyone else would hear it in the same way. Which just makes it even clearer to me that we all need to trust our own hearing when we make descions as we are the only ones who hear what we hear .
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[quote name='Pac67']Whilst most attributes mentioned can be measured to some extent, measurements IMHO are NOT the be all and end all. Many loudspeaker manufacturers, not to mention end users and R&D funders (like the BBC) would never risk designing loudspeakers (for example) using computer modelling ONLY and go straight into production. That could be be commercially risky. Most design these things according to required outputs (measurements) then spend a significant amount of time and effort tuning them by ear. Sonus Faber, Rogers (in the past), Harbeth..etc etc. I think that this applies mostly to loudspeaker design although amplifiers and other components are also the subject of final tuning by ear with some manufacturers. Cant see it applying to cables as any "tuning" from desired properties might obviously introduce signal distortion.

One example with loudspeakers is that when designing them, some sort of approximation needs to be accounted for the rooms they will eventually be used in, so assumptions must be made about room size and layout as that will affect loading and to some extent frequency response.[/QUOTE]

What you say about measuring and listening applies very much to loudspeakers, as these are all currently imperfect and consequently, all designs are a matter of compromise and/or personal choice in what imperfections are acceptable. Electronics, on the other hand, I feel can be designed entirely by calculation and measurement, with listening being just as a final "reality check". This of course assumes that the object of the design is to minimise distortions of all sorts. If the object of the design is for it to have a sonic character, then as with loudspeakers, each designer will have a personal idea of what they're trying to achieve. Even if fashionable today, this second approach has no attraction for me although it may have for others.

S.
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Although there is much discussion of "measurement", how is that defined? Surely any mechanical measurement then has to be checked by a computer. I am using the term with its original meaning- a person who computes. It is only historically recently that the word has come to mean a machine, so how were beautifully sounding devices created in the past? Violins spring to mind.
As for things like Formula 1 cars, isn't the final measurement carried out by the test driver- the computer?
In the end, I think pretty much everything we humans hold to be important is subjective. Objectivity, IMO, should be the servant , not the master, and like a good servant tell the master when he is talking bollocks. But politely.
:notworthy:
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[quote name='awkwardbydesign']Although there is much discussion of "measurement", how is that defined? Surely any mechanical measurement then has to be checked by a computer. I am using the term with its original meaning- a person who computes. It is only historically recently that the word has come to mean a machine, so how were beautifully sounding devices created in the past? Violins spring to mind.
As for things like Formula 1 cars, isn't the final measurement carried out by the test driver- the computer?
In the end, I think pretty much everything we humans hold to be important is subjective. Objectivity, IMO, should be the servant , not the master, and like a good servant tell the master when he is talking bollocks. But politely.
:notworthy:[/QUOTE]

Violins are other musical instruments and are not trying to [B]reproduce[/B] anything, they [B]are[/B] the original, so any violin maker is quite free to make anything that to[B] them[/B] sounds good. No measurements are necessary.

HiFi isn't (or at least, not to me) an original, it's trying to [B]reproduce [/B]a recording, and should (again to me) be as faithful to the original recording (NOT the original performance) as possible. This requires the equipment to distort the audio signal as little as possible, which is easily measureable. Whether one might prefer a less accurate reproduction is besides the point. If one [B]does[/B] prefer a less accurate but more pleasing reproduction, then that's not HiFi, but an original performance in itself.

This where I have the biggest disagreement with some subjectivists, who see a pleasing result as more important than an accurate result.

S.
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[quote name='SergeAuckland']

This where I have the biggest disagreement with some subjectivists, who see a pleasing result as more important than an accurate result.

S.[/QUOTE]
The mad fools :doh:
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[quote name='johnniebaby']The mad fools :doh:[/QUOTE]

No, not mad, but with a different perspective on what's important.

(I assume you meant it jocularly, but you make an important point:- What's the purpose of HiFi, pleasure or accuracy to the recording?)

:^
S.
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[quote name='SergeAuckland']No, not mad, but with a different perspective on what's important.

(I assume you meant it jocularly, but you make an important point:- What's the purpose of HiFi, pleasure or accuracy to the recording?)

:^
S.[/QUOTE]
Well, not pleasure obviously :doh:
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[quote name='johnniebaby']Well, not pleasure obviously :doh:[/QUOTE]

No, not for me. The pleasure comes from the music, and the knowledge that I'm listening to a good recording reproduced as accurately as I'm able to. I would no more use a HiFi system that I knew was inaccurate, even though it might sound better, than I would add ketchup to a meal because it tasted better.

S.
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[quote name='SergeAuckland']No, not for me. The pleasure comes from the music, and the knowledge that I'm listening to a good recording reproduced as accurately as I'm able to. I would no more use a HiFi system that I knew was inaccurate, even though it might sound better, than I would add ketchup to a meal because it tasted better.

S.[/QUOTE]
You are seriously weird, do you wear a hair shirt too? :rofl:
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[quote name='SergeAuckland'] ..... it would take heroic incompetence .....
[/QUOTE]


What a wonderful phrase, I shall pinch it and use it as often as possible :)
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[quote name='SergeAuckland']Violins are other musical instruments and are not trying to [B]reproduce[/B] anything, they [B]are[/B] the original, so any violin maker is quite free to make anything that to[B] them[/B] sounds good. No measurements are necessary.

HiFi isn't (or at least, not to me) an original, it's trying to [B]reproduce [/B]a recording, and should (again to me) be as faithful to the original recording (NOT the original performance) as possible. This requires the equipment to distort the audio signal as little as possible, which is easily measureable. Whether one might prefer a less accurate reproduction is besides the point. If one [B]does[/B] prefer a less accurate but more pleasing reproduction, then that's not HiFi, but an original performance in itself.

This where I have the biggest disagreement with some subjectivists, who see a pleasing result as more important than an accurate result.

S.[/QUOTE]
Actually my main point was about defining measurement. But anyway, would you seriously prefer an unpleasant but objectively accurate sound? At home? And it seems you define HiFi as Peter Walker did, not my preferred definition, " the closest approach to the original MAGIC", which is wholly subjective. Remember we (most of us) are not working in a recording studio, but looking for pleasure. Sorry, listening.
I feel that our various definitions, and desires, make it hard to find common ground, but the attempts are fascinating, and hopefully good natured.
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Of course, all this pales into insignificance if the room acoustics are rubbish. You can have as accurate a system as you like, and then simply ruin the effect by accepting
loads of distortion through reflection etc. A bit like Ketchup on Caviare eh Serge? This never ending desire for better and better accuracy can become a little OCD (IMHO). Fact is most modern amps are good (if S/N ratio and THD is a measure of "good"), ditto source components, so the differences between them (so it seems to me) are largely synergy (ok, correct matching) and personal preference. To my mind the most important aspect is having the right loudspeakers for the room and making at least some attempt to correct unwanted reflections, bass boom or whatever. Thats where the real gains are to be had but the ironic thing is virtually no-one I know bothers with room acoustics even though they're willing to shell out £1000's on kit. May as well have a "Ketchup" system in that regard as long as you enjoy the sound ;-)
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